The Fort Frances Lakers will need to come up with their best game of the season if they hope to extend their playoff lives.
Jacob Anthony made 25 saves, and had a little luck on his side in the late going to help him post a shutout, as the host Dryden GM Ice Dogs blanked the Lakers 2-0 last night in Game 2 of their best-of-five quarter-final series.
The Lakers now trail the series 2-0 heading into a must-win Game 3 tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Game 4, if necessary, would go Saturday also at 7:30 p.m. here.
Should the series end up going the distance, Dryden would host Game 5 on Monday night.
Dryden netted the eventual game-winner just over midway through the first period when Eric Stout knocked in the rebound of a Tyler Browning point shot.
The Ice Dogs pressed the pace to try and extend their cushion but had a tough time beating Lakers’ goalie Jacob Gnidziejko again as the score stayed 1-0 after 40 minutes despite the Ice Dogs holding a 35-13 edge in shots.
Dryden finally added some insurance in the third when defenceman Ryan Brandt pinched in and took a Malcolm Huemmert feed from behind the Lakers’ net and snapped his first SIJHL playoff marker past Gnidziejko at 6:42.
The Lakers pulled Gnidziejko with a minute-and-a-half to go for an extra attacker and their best chance to get on the board came on a dump-in that bounced off a stanchion and caught Anthony going out of the crease to play it.
But the puck came across, hit the post, and stayed out.
The Ice Dogs held firm from there to hold on for the win and take a stranglehold on the series.
Gnidziejko was solid for the Lakers in finishing with 53 stops in the setback.
Fort Frances went into Game 2 off a 4-2 loss in the opener the previous night in Dryden.
The Ice Dogs exploded for three second-period goals to help them start off the series on the right foot.
The Lakers actually opened the scoring five-and-a-half minutes into the game when Chase Robideau went high from the right side on Anthony.
But the Ice Dogs countered with the equalizer at 12:56 when Curtis Magas fired a shot from the point that found its way past Gnidziejko.
Dryden then took the lead early in the second when Browning deflected home a Trey Palermo attempt while parked in front of the visitors’ net.
Going to the power play later in the frame, Browning added another as his shot from the left point found its way through a screen at the top of the crease to make it 3-1 at 12:24.
The Ice Dogs weren’t done there as on the tail end of being down two men, Huemmert came out of the penalty box and was sent in alone on a short-handed breakaway, where he made a couple of quick dekes before slipping the puck into the open side past a sprawled Gnidziejko three minutes later.
Fort Frances cut into the deficit 4:12 into the third after breaking out of their own zone that eventually led to Robideau darting into Dryden territory and firing a shot that clipped the glove of Anthony on the way by.
The Lakers then pulled Gnidziejko late for an extra attacker in an attempt to force overtime but the Ice Dogs held firm to secure the win.
Cameron Coutre had two assists for the hosts.
Anthony made 26 saves to earn the win while Gnidziejko stopped 30 shots in taking the loss.